WHEN Schools rugby was last in full flow, Marr College announced their intention to fly the flag for the state sector by reaching the semi-final of the under-18 Cup. Sadly, it was to be the terminal point in the competition for the Troon school, who were unable to match the exceptional skills of the eventual Cup winners Stewart’s-Melville College.
Nevertheless, to have reached the penultimate stage of the Cup was something of an achievement and one which has clearly given the Ayrshire school a boost. This season Marr College returned to competitive rugby with a 61-17 win over High School of Glasgow at Fullarton Park last Saturday in National Conference West A to confirm that the partnership between the school and Marr Rugby is functioning well.
“A great way for us to start our Conference campaign after a pretty disjointed early season,” said Marr College head coach Colin Sturgeon. “It was a day for the outside backs but Harvey Broadfoot was at the heart of everything and kicked exceptionally from hand and off the tee.”
Broadfoot converted eight of the nine Marr tries, four of which were scored by centre Andrew Ramage, the others coming from full-back Lewis Santangeli (2), wing Lawson Jeffrey (2) and wing Dylan Tuton.
This sumptuous win by Marr College over Glasgow High sets up an intriguing match two weeks on Saturday when the Troon school travels to Millerston for a top of the table clash with in-form St Aloysius College, who were 60-12 winners over Glasgow Academy at New Anniesland.
Glasgow Academy’s coach, Jonny Gordon, heaped praise on his side’s opponents, emphasising the quality of their rugby. “St Aloysius fully deserved their win with some lovely back play, but our boys will be disappointed they didn’t give a true account of themselves, especially in the first 20 minsutes, which gave us an uphill battle for the rest of the match,” he said.
There was a much closer game in the West A Conference at Auldhouse where Hutchesons’ Grammar School edged past Kelvinside Academy with a 19-12 win. Wing Charlie Dorward, centre Rory Cattanach and wing Sam Oades scored Hutchesons’ tries, two of them converted by Magnus Friel.
“This was a great game of running rugby that could have gone either way,” noted Craig Sorbie, the Hutchesons’ coach. “We defended for large parts of the game against a physical Kelvinside team but took our opportunities when they came. Credit to Jack Nairn and Rory Wallace who dominated the set-piece, and to the tireless work of Alastair Wood, Bobbie Gillespie and Rohan Singh at the breakdown.”
In the East Conference A, Strathallan defended well against a high-flying Merchiston side to hold the visitors to a 17-3 scoreline at Forgandenny, the Merchiston tries coming from James Sibbald (2) and Torin McGregor.
Meanwhile, Cup holders Stewart’s-Melville College chalked up another result with a 39-5 win against Fettes College at Inverleith. For SMC, wing Finn Macfarlane scored a brace of tries, and there were single contributions from centre Benjamin Roger, full-back Monty Dunlap, wing Oliver Finlayson, wing Rob Henderson, and prop Jamie Limb. Stand-off James Lewis kicked two conversions.
Elsewhere in the East A Conference, George Watson’s College achieved a 28-12 win over Heriot’s at Goldenacre, but the hosts – for whom full back Charlie Lewis and centre Hugh Mackay scored tries – should be relatively satisfied with the scoreline, having proved that they can now be competitive against the perennially strong Watson’s College.
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If Marr stole the show in West schools rugby then their near neighbours, Ayr/Wellington, also made their mark in the club National Conference A with a 20-5 win over the early pace-setters, and club finalists in the 2019-2020, GHA. Number 8 Logan Murray and stand-off Scott Watson scored Ayr’s tries, Watson converting both touchdowns in addition to kicking two penalty goals for a 15 points haul.
In the other match in National Conference A, Biggar had a good 21-14 away win over Currie Chieftains. Meanwhile, in National B, Stirling County made their journey to Inverness a profitable visit by winning 50-0 against Highland. Stirling’s director of youth rugby Stewart Milne believes that this was perhaps the result that his charges needed. “At under-18 level we’ve had an okay start, a bit up and down, and few key injuries, but it’s been great exposure for some younger members of the squad,” he revealed.
Another side going well in this National B is Mackie, who performed very well in the semi-finals of the under-16 Cup in the 2019-2020 season. On Saturday, Mackie achieved a 33-14 win over Perthshire at The North Inch to remain second in the under-18 table behind leaders Boroughmuir.
For reasons of Covid and, worryingly, lack of numbers, only two matches went ahead in the Borders Semi Junior league, which is headed by Hawick Youth. The young Greens made it five from five this season with a 48-0 win over Morpeth at Volunteer Park, their tries coming from No8 Hughie Joe Donaldson, winger and man-of-the-match Finlay Douglas (4), hooker Fergus Bell, winger Sean McMichan and flanker Lewis Crowford, with two conversions each from Charlie Comley and Owain Gray.
In the other game played, Earlston HS/Melrose Wasps defeated close rivals Peebles 29-16 at The Greenyards. Andrew Kirk, Chris Carter (2), Luke Townsend and Arran Kennedy scoring the home side’s tries, two of them converted by Townsend. For Peebles, Ben White and Ewan Hunter scored tries, with White sadly sustaining a serious knee injury in the second half.
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